As captain of Italy’s 2006 World Cup winning team, Fabio Cannavaro received the FIFA World Cup trophy in Berlin on the night of his 100th appearance for the national team. His personal contribution to Italy’s victory was immense and it was acknowledged in November, when he was named European Footballer of the Year, and in December when he became the first defender to win the FIFA World Player of the Year Award – the result of a poll by national team coaches and captains.
Cannavaro played immaculately throughout and did not receive a single yellow or red card in 690 minutes, while the Italian defence conceded only two goals throughout the entire tournament, an own-goal and a penalty kick. Led by coach Marcello Lippi, Italy beat France in a penalty shootout in the final in Berlin after scores were tied 1-1. It was Italy’s fourth FIFA World Cup title - their first for 24 years.